I receive a lot of questions about how losing, essentially, half of myself has affected my relationship with my husband.
Questions range from horrendously silly, “If he used to like fat girls, does he still like you?” To practical, “How has your emotional relationship evolved as a result of your weight loss?” To private, “Has sex changed?”
This post is about how losing 125 pounds changed my marriage.
Today Brady and I are going to answer 5 of the most common questions I receive about this topic. I wanted to bring in the “big guns” because I’m sure his answers are going to be different than mine. Something to keep in mind is that this is just our marriage, our story. Everyone’s relationship, and therefore experiences regarding this topic, are going to be completely different.
Brady and I are very practical people. We tend to run on logic first and emotion second. Our first date was a group gathering so that Brady could see how I interacted with others to gauge if I was someone he was interested in getting to know better. If that doesn’t scream romantic, I don’t know what does! 🙂 We’ve come a long way since then. We’ve been together for almost ten years, married for 8 1/2. We’ve walked through so much joy and so much pain but we remain each other’s constant.
I can honestly say, I’ve never had a better friend. I’m thankful for both the practicality of our relationship as well as all of the intimate things between us that no one else knows but us. It’s sacred, special, and something we protect at all cost.
In 2017, I decided to overhaul our families diet. My initial goal wasn’t to lose weight, been there, tried that, but to construct a healthy environment for my children. I knew I had deep seeded issues with food. I was a binger, all that means is that my over eating tendencies had grown out of control. When my body signaled “I’m full!” I’d ignore it and continue to eat, either because it tasted good or I’d deluded myself into believing that it would make me feel better. I talk more about this subject in my post, “How an emotional eater lost 125 pounds!”
So, my relationship with food was poor and my body image was awful. I’d tear myself down all the time, honestly, I felt like I was a pretty cool chick, but my weight was a constant sore spot. There were actually people in my life who believed that Brady and I were not a good match for one another because I was bigger than him. He actually received questions about why he was with a fat girl. Honestly, the gall of some still blows my mind.
I think this leads me to our first question, “If he used to like fat girls, does he still like you?”
Brittany: If our relationship was entirely sexual, maybe losing weight might have altered my worth to him, but our relationship wasn’t/isn’t purely sexual. As an aside, Brady’s long term relationship before me was a beautiful, thin, athletic girl. I’d say his type is beautiful, brunette, and funny. Not fat or thin. Bodies change, they shrink, they grow, but a personality remains. We went through 4 cesareans together. I think if his feelings for me were purely physical he’d have run the first time he had to help me wipe myself. TMI?
Brady: Yes, absolutely. I love Brittany for who she is. Both for her physical and non-physical appearance. Who she is as a person. I never had a thing for fat/overweight girls, I had a thing for Brittany. A person is so much more than their physical appearance, though physical appearance does play into physical attraction. It was Brittany as a whole I was attracted to, not just one part of her.
I feel like this leads into our second question, “has sex changed?”
Brittany: Yes. There’s typically one who is more giving physically in a relationship and Brady is definitely a giver. Because this is his nature he’s always been vocal about his desire for my body. Large or small he’s always been my admirer.
We had a healthy sex life before I lost weight. I wasn’t one to turn off the lights or hide under the covers but I wasn’t as explorative as I desired because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. Losing weight gave me a bit more confidence but I was beginning to find self-confidence even before I began losing weight. I had more energy, I felt better physically, and I was proud of the changes that I’d made.
This put an extra spring in my step. When someone loves themselves better, they’re easier to love. I’m easier to desire because I feel more desirable. So, our relationship did change sexually. It’s come to new heights, but I believe it has more to do with the way I love myself now, then the way Brady loves me.
Brady: This is a hard one to answer because more things changed than just Brittany’s weight in our relationship. We’ve grown closer and gained a better appreciation for one another throughout the years because of what we’ve gone through as a couple.
But to answer the question directly, yes I believe it has. Our sex has become more frequent since she lost weight. I do find her more sexually attractive now that she’s slimmed down because her body is more proportional. But that’s not the only reason. It’s also because confidence, to me, is a very big part of sexual attraction. As Brittany became more healthy, and her body reflected that, she also became much more confident. Which led to an increase in opportunity for intimacy.
Our third question “How has your emotional relationship evolved as a result of weight loss?”
Brittany: I think I dipped my toes into this one in my previous answer. I think that if we would have gone through extreme weight loss earlier in our marriage things might have changed more but as it stood we’d already been through a heck of a lot together, emotionally. More than anything, walking this road with him has reaffirmed to me that he’s my person. He’s my unyielding, unwavering support, and my safest place.
Brady: I don’t know that it has, we still communicate openly, and share how we feel about things with one another. Brittany’s self-worth has changed though. In the past, she maybe felt like her desires and thoughts didn’t carry as much weight as mine but now that she’s gained more self-worth, she feels like her wants and desire are just as valid, and of equal weight to mine. I think that’s because she has more confidence in herself. Practically speaking, it’s as if she doesn’t feel like she has to hang on to me with everything in her because I might leave. She understands that she’s enough exactly as she is, she always has been, but I believe she fully embraces that now.
Our fourth question “Do you have any advice for the spouse in the supportive role of a relationship that is experiencing dietary changes?”
Brittany: This is an entire post on it’s own. I’m going to have to come back later and write another post to expand on this. But briefly, be their champion. Brady is my jack of all trades, he’s my husband but he’s also representative of so many other roles in my life. At times, he parents me a bit, reminds me of what I want most, when I try to self-sabatoage. Takes care of me when I’m down. He’s like a brother, and teases me relentlessly, keeps my spirits up. He’s my best friend and keeper of all my secrets. No matter how horrible or wild my thoughts are he lets me have my feelings.
Brady’s love languages are acts of service and physical touch. Mine are words of affirmation and gifts. Knowing this, he takes great care in verbalizing his approval and love for me. He cheers me on and praises me for silly things that others might not need praise for, like, “Dang babe! I’m so proud of you for making those choices when we went out to eat! You’re freaking killing it! Your body is so proud of you!”
This lights me up like a Christmas tree and encourages me to keep going! He’s my hype man. If you don’t know what your spouses love language is, read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Communication is key during any process that requires one partner to take more of a supportive role. I can honestly say that my success quite literally hinged on Brady’s support many times throughout this journey.
Brady: Don’t be a jerk. Be helpful. If your partner has a food addiction, struggles with temptation, and is trying to overcome it, don’t bring home the thing that causes them to trip. Marriage is supposed to be a union of two helpmates, so if one person is trying to accomplish something, help them! Don’t hinder them. And don’t be so selfish that you can’t set yourself aside in order to assist them in accomplishing their goals. Brittany had a really good way of helping her set aside her food cravings for a time. She would tell herself “It will always be there.” It, being the food she was craving. I think as spouses we can tell ourselves this too in order to help those we love by not indulging on the foods our other is trying to avoid.
And our last question “If you had to do it all over again, would you, and would you do anything different?”
Brittany: Changing our diets has lead to so many positive changes within our household. I honestly can’t name a negative. This isn’t a temporary diet to drop weight fast and then revert to old habits. It was 100% an overhaul on the way we were leading our lives. Just because I’ve finished losing weight doesn’t mean that journey is over.
I still need support. I still require encouragement. If Brady woke up tomorrow and decided to fill our pantry with Hot Cheetos, I’d probably have a very difficult time. We’re in this together and I feel very blessed to have a partner who decided to go through this journey with me, seeing the longterm benefit for our family, over all else.
Losing 125 pounds undeniably changed my marriage. I don’t think I’d do anything differently. “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
Brady: No question, I absolutely would. Our lives are immeasurably more healthy and better because Brittany and I have decided to set our heath and that of our children’s as a high priority.
If I could change things individually, I would try to be more helpful and understanding earlier. I definitely would have liked to implement exercising together earlier on. As a supportive spouse, one thing that I constantly wondered was, will she stick with it? Is this another fad that will last for a month or two, or will she commit to this for good?
I found myself at times, waiting for the change to wane, like it had before. Maybe not fully believing that this was going to be a lifestyle change, I wasn’t always as supportive as I could have been. Making the commitment to help her earlier is something I would like to do differently.
This may be something that you discuss with your spouse. Letting them know how serious and committed you are and being verbal about how much you desire to change. Having a serious sit down (which I realize can be hard with some spouses) and letting them know that this is a real challenge may be the thing that kicks them into being helpful rather than apathetic.